Hey mamas! If you’re pumping and storing your liquid gold, you’ve probably wondered – can you reuse breast milk storage bags? This handy little baglets are a pumping momma’s best friend. They keep your breastmilk fresh and ready for baby anytime.
But they can also get pricy when you’re going through multiple each day! The reusable ones seem like a smart buy – but are they really safe to keep using?
Let’s dive in and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about getting the most from your breast milk storage bags!
Why Bother With Breast Milk Storage Bags?
First – why even bother with these things? Seems like a hassle, right?
Well, having a good stash of breastmilk on hand makes life 1000x easier! Here’s just a few reasons to get pumping and packing:
- Convenience – You can pump on your schedule and bottle feed baby later. This gives you freedom to get stuff done without worrying about breastfeeding!
- Time Apart – Heading back to work or need a night away? Storage bags let someone else handle a feeding!
- Prevent Engorgement – Ever woken up with rock hard porn star boobs? Not fun! Pumping relieves engorgement so you’re comfy.
- Feed a Preemie – Premature babies may lack the strength and reflexes to nurse. Pumping gives them your liquid gold!
- Share the Work – Dads can help with overnight feeds. Grandma can bottle feed baby while you nap. Teamwork!
- Milk Supply – Removing milk stimulates production. So even just pumping occasionally boosts your supply.
No doubt about it, having a stash of breastmilk in the freezer is clutch! Next let’s look at the types of storage bags available.
Kinds of Breast Milk Bags: Disposable vs Reusable
You’ve got two options when it comes to breastmilk baggies – disposable and reusable. Each has pros and cons, so let’s compare:
- Cheap! About $0.25 per bag
- Leak resistant double zipper seal
- Lay flat for compact freezing
- Pre-sterilized and ready to use
- Single use – toss after 1 pump session
- Made of durable freezer-safe material
- Withstand multiple uses – just wash between
- Large capacity holds 5-8oz per bag
- Eco-friendly and reduces waste!
- Zipper top or screw cap for leakproof seal
- Higher upfront cost around $15 for 5 bags
Both disposable and reusable milk storage bags come in small, medium and large sizes. Popular brands like Medela, Lansinoh and Kiinde all make both versions.
I recommend having some of each on hand! Use the disposables for everyday pumping and bust out the reusables when you need to build up a large stash.
Next up – how long you can actually store milk before it goes bad!
Don’t Cry Over Spoiled Milk: Storage Duration Guidelines
Nothing sucks more than having your liquid gold go to waste! To get the most mileage from your milk bags, it’s key to follow safe storage times.
Here’s how long breastmilk lasts according to the CDC:
- Countertop – Up to 4 hours at room temp
- Fridge – Up to 4 days chilled
- Freezer – 6-12 months frozen
Some quick tips for safe storing:
- Use the coldest part of the fridge, like the back
- Freeze milk in small 2-4oz batches
- Label bags with date and quantity
- Put newest milk towards the back
- Don’t reopen freezer bags once frozen
- Thaw oldest milk first
Pro Tip: Lay bags flat in the freezer to prevent freezer burn. It thaws faster too since more surface area touches the ice!
Watch for separation, odor changes or curdling. Toss any iffy looking milk to be safe. Now we get to the big question…
The Reusables Debate: Can You Really Reuse Them?
Here’s the deal – technically you can reuse breast milk storage bags, both disposable and reusable kinds. But experts strongly recommend against it with disposables.
Reusable bags are designed for multiple uses. But you should still take precautions to use them safely:
- Wash thoroughly – handwash in hot, soapy water after each use
- Limit reuse – aim for only 1-2 extra uses maximum
- Inspect for damage – toss any with cracks or weak seals
- Sterilize – use steam sterilizer or boil between each use
- Store properly – keep unused bags sealed and refrigerated
Reusing disposable bags is risky business. Why? Milk residue and bacteria can linger in the bags. This contaminates any fresh milk stored in the used bag.
While the bags themselves are food-grade plastic, the milk inside will go bad much faster. Ultimately it’s not worth the risk just to save a quarter!
Scrub-a-Dub-Dub: How to Clean Reusable Bags
Reusable breast milk bags need a thorough scrubbing between each use. Here’s how to wash them:
- Rinse immediately – don’t let residue sit after pumping
- Wash with soap and hot water – use mild dish soap, no bleach
- Brush textured surfaces – use a bottle brush to remove residue
- Air dry completely – lay flat on a clean towel
- Sterilize – steam or boil for 5 minutes or more
- Inspect – check for cracks, cloudiness or worn out zipper
- Store properly – refrigerate clean bags until next use
It takes a bit more effort than tossing a disposable bag, but it’s worth it to get the most use from reusables!
Keep It Clean: Avoiding Milk Contamination
Nothing’s worse than giving baby spoiled milk 🤢 Here’s how to keep your liquid gold contamination-free:
- Pump into a clean collection cup – don’t pump directly into storage bags
- Use sterile bags – pre-sterilized disposable or sterilize reusables
- Label and date bags – so you know what’s the oldest
- Seal tightly – listen for the zipper “click” and press any air out
- Store immediately – get bags into fridge or freezer ASAP after pumping
- Freeze flat – for quick, even freezing to avoid ice crystals
- Handle carefully – don’t let used bags contact fresh milk
Following safe collection, storage, and thawing practices prevents bacteria growth. Your due diligence keeps that liquid gold safe and nourishing for baby!
Serving Up That Liquid Gold: Safe Milk Handling
When baby’s hungry, you gotta move fast. But slow down and follow these safe handling tips:
- Never microwave breastmilk – dangerous hot spots can burn baby!
- Thaw overnight in fridge – place oldest milk in fridge first
- Gently swirl – mix separated milk before warming
- Warm under warm running water or in a bottle warmer – no microwaving!
- Use thawed milk within 24 hours – toss any unused milk
- Always sniff and taste test before feeding
- Wash hands before handling pumped milk
Following safe thawing, warming and handling keeps milk free of nasty bacteria. Now you can relax knowing your baby’s getting the nourishing goodness they need!
Can You Reuse Breast Milk Storage Bags? The Bottom Line
- Reusing disposable bags risks contamination – it’s best to toss after one use
- Reusable breast milk bags are designed for multiple uses
- Take steps to clean and sanitize reusable bags after each use
- Inspect carefully and discard any damaged bags
- Disposable bags are more economical for long term use
- Reusables are eco-friendly and reduce waste
- Focus on proper storage and handling for milk safety
- When in doubt, toss it out – don’t take risks with spoiled milk!
The most important thing is nourishing your baby with the healthiest breastmilk possible. With some due diligence, breast milk storage bags help you achieve that goal – without breaking the bank!
Hopefully this gives you confidence in getting the most from your milk supply safely. Happy pumping and remember – go easy on yourself mama!